Key Facts

Key Facts About Breast Cancer

  • In the ACT Region, 1 in 9 women will be diagnosed with breast cancer by the age of 85 — higher than the national average (nationally it is 1 in 8 women).
    The higher rate may be because more women are breast aware and use early detection (self-examination and mammograms) due to our socio-economic profile. While the detection rate is rising in this region so is the survival rate.
  • Breast cancer is not an older woman’s disease; it does affect young women. More than a third of breast cancers are diagnosed in women younger than 50, and 6.5% of detected cancers are in women younger than 40.
  • On average, 1% of diagnosed cases are in men. In Australia about 100 men are diagnosed with breast cancer each year.
  • Nationally, approximately 14,600 Australian women will be diagnosed with invasive breast cancer in 2012.
  • Survival from breast cancer in Australia is improving, with 89 out of every 100 women diagnosed with invasive breast cancer surviving five or more years beyond diagnosis.
  • Breast cancer is the most common cancer affecting Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women. Although Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women have had a significantly lower incidence of breast cancer than non-Indigenous women.
  • Women of all ages, irrespective of whether they attend for regular screening mammograms, are encouraged to be aware of any new or unusual breast changes and to report these promptly to their GP. The “triple test” is the recommended approach to the investigation of breast symptoms.  Finding breast cancer early increases the chance of surviving the disease.
  • Over 1.7 million women participated in BreastScreen Australia in the 2009 and in 2010 period.
  • In 2009, more than half of breast cancers detected in women attending their first screen and nearly two thirds of the breast cancers detected in women attending their 2nd or subsequent screens were small in diameter (≤15mm).

Go to Useful Links for more information sources about Breast Cancer (including about Male Breast Cancer).

Also read: Cancer Australia’s Report to the Nation: Breast Cancer 2012 (PDF).